Ruthe Turner’s passion for reading and serving others shines through in her role as the librarian at First Baptist Dallas. Raised in North Dakota, Ruthe was exposed to the joy of reading at an early age, thanks to her family’s participation in a church plant with a nearby local library. She sought out biographies and Nancy Drew books, discovering her love for literature in the absence of a television at home.
When her father was called to be a missionary, Ruthe and her family moved around Texas, finally ending up in Fort Worth. It was here that Ruthe met her now-husband, Jerry. Together, they raised five children and became members of First Dallas in 2000. Ruthe quickly found the library at the church and began volunteering, eventually becoming the librarian in 2003.
Ruthe’s true passion lies in the power of filling one’s mind with the will of the Lord. She is a firm believer in the message of Philippians 4:8, encouraging others to focus on what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy. Through her ministry at the church, Ruthe strives to help people read about God’s goodness and beauty, equipping them with the tools to do so through the library’s vast collection of books.
Ruthe’s friendly and sincere demeanor has made her a beloved figure among library visitors, always eager to help and learn their names. She recalls a touching moment when a mother prayed with her daughter and accepted Christ after reading a book from the library’s collection.
When asked about the number of books she’s read in her lifetime, Ruthe estimates that she reads about 100 books a year. She jokes that she wishes reading was aerobic, but despite the lack of physical exercise, Ruthe knows that reading is essential for a healthy mind and soul.
The Truett Memorial Library, located in the basement below the Historic Sanctuary, is home to over 27,000 physical items and 5,000 Ebooks and MP3 audiobooks. Ruthe’s Top 10 Recommendations for the quarter are a must-read, and visitors are encouraged to stop by and pick up a copy during their next visit.
- Be Rich: Gaining Things That Money Can’t Buy by Warren Wiersbe. If you have ever yearned to understand the Bible more clearly, you will love Dr. Wiersbe’s series of “Be” commentaries of the entire Bible. Dr. Wiersbe’s commentary on Ephesians, entitled “Be Rich,” will help you understand more clearly the incredible list of riches all believers are abundantly given, the kind of riches that money can’t buy.
- Truth Changes Everything: How People of Faith Can Transform the World in Times of Crises by Dr. Jeff Myers. Dr. Myers gives convincing proof that Truth (with a capital T) is Jesus. Then through story after story, he shows how people of faith have made great contributions in every field of civilization—education, medicine, art, etc. When we are made aware of the many world-changing accomplishments of Christians through the centuries, we can take heart and become a part of the new generation of transformers.
- Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan. Award-winning author Patti Callahan weaves a beautiful new story around and through the life of C.S. Lewis, the creator of a place called Narnia. The new story introduces us to an incurably-ill little boy who yearns to know where Narnia is and about his sister, who is determined to find the answer for him. In the process, we all learn, in a most enjoyable way, about the life of C.S. Lewis and his journey to faith.
- 18 Minutes by Robert Jeffress. The best way to read 18 Minutes is with an open Bible and a pen while Dr. Jeffress leads you through the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5, 6, and 7. Dr. Jeffress shares 10 key truths that are as relevant today as they were that day when Jesus first taught them to his disciples. As Jesus ended his discourse with the parable of the wise and foolish builders, so also Dr. Jeffress ends his book with the same challenge that we must make a decision – listen and obey Christ or choose destruction.
- The Voice Behind You: Memoirs of an Ordinary Life Led by an Extraordinary God by Ron Harris – Dr. Ron Harris is the man with the pleasant voice that leads us in the reading of God’s Word most Sunday mornings at First Baptist. In his autobiography, he sums up his life as an ordinary life guided by our extraordinary God. Actually, his life is quite interesting, and you will be inspired to know that the same God wants to lead your life, too, if you will only listen to His voice.
- She’s a County Mountie: From Bulletproof Vest to the Armor of God by Susan Rodriguez. After serving as a police officer for over 30 years in Dallas and currently serving as chaplain of the Dallas County Posse, this pretty lady has many astonishing stories to tell. The best story of all is how she came to know and love the Lord Jesus Christ (at First Baptist Church.)
- The Power Bible: Bible Stories to Impart Wisdom series from Green Egg Media will have your child inhaling this 10-book series of Bible stories. They are like no other graphic book you have ever seen, and you’ll love them as much as your children love them. From Genesis to Revelation, the comics and pictures convey the true message of the Bible in a way that elementary-aged children will love and devour.
- The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall. Yes, you can still find very good books for your preteen girl to enjoy (and without you worrying about it!) There is none better than Jeanne Birdsall’s “Penderwicks” series, which are called Modern Classics and have been read around the world in several languages. Mrs. Birdsall was influenced by her own childhood reading through books by Louisa May Alcott and “E Nesbitt. No wonder her books are so delightful!
- The Stars in April by Peggy Wirgau. On Wednesday, April 10, 1912, 13-year-old Ruth Becker boarded the unsinkable Titanic along with her mother, little brother, and sister. Their long journey from the mission field in India to their home in America was soon to be over. But first, she would enjoy a few carefree days roaming all over the most luxurious ship of that time. Four days later, the unthinkable accident happened in the dark of night. Ruth saw it all from a lifeboat and lived to tell her story. This is historical fiction at its best for preteens and teens.
- Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli. It’s only 23 pages with pictures included, and already 24 years since first published. But the book still can make the wiggliest child be still. Then as the story ends, there will be an audible “ah” moment from that child because a sad and lonely and tall and thin and bald and quiet Mr. Hatch learns, without a shadow of a doubt, that a whole bunch of somebodies love him. The story is the most delightful way to encourage empathy in children.
Ruthe Turner’s passion for reading and her love for people is an inspiration to us all. Her dedication to filling people’s minds with what is good and beautiful in the world is a testament to the power of literature and faith.